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Kidney Stones

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi, nephrolithiasis, or urolithiasis, are small, hard mineral and acid salt deposits that form inside the kidneys. This common condition affects approximately 20% of the population.

Kidney stones develop when urine components are imbalanced. Common types of stones include calcium, struvite, uric acid and cystine stones. Dehydration can lead to more concentrated urine, promoting crystallisation and stone formation. Other factors include metabolic disorders, kidney diseases, gout, inflammatory bowel disease and certain medications. Often, stones result from multiple factors in susceptible individuals.

How do I know if I have kidney stones?

Kidney stones are typically expelled in the urine. Small stones might pass unnoticed, but larger stones can be painful. Sometimes the stones can get stuck along the way, presenting symptoms that include: 

  • Pain in the sides, often in waves lasting 20–60 minutes, and may spread to the lower abdomen, back and groin
  • Bloody, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine
  • Pain during urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • Fever and chills
How are kidney stones diagnosed?

Kidney stones may be detected incidentally or upon experiencing symptoms. Diagnostic imaging tests include:

  • Abdominal X-ray: Useful for visualising most kidney stones
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Ultrasound
  • Intravenous Pyelography
What are the services and treatments available for kidney stones?

Treatment depends on the stone's type, size and location. Options include:

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